Iceberg Method

You read something resourceful one day, but after a few days, you need that resource, but it is now lost in your reading history that you cleared out a few hours ago.

Does this situation seem familiar to you? If yes, you are not alone. We all read things that we think might be useful but are often unable to find them when we need them.

The Iceberg method created by Ramit Sethi of "I will teach you to be rich" fame could be a possible solution.

As for the method, Ramit opines that you can create a process to save bits of valuable information as you discover them, making it easy to find them when you need them.

Why does it work?

  1. Helps declutter your mind space.
  2. Useful while searching for information.
  3. Keeps the information organized.
  4. Encourages you to seek helpful information or ideas.

How does it work?

  1. Start by saving information that is interesting or useful.
  2. Note the information/ideas down on a note-taking app or a notebook and then transfer them to a centralized system like Notion or Evernote.
  3. Organize that information using tags and folders. For example, if you are looking to save financial details, there could be a folder that says "Finances" with tags under it like taxes, investments or expenses, etc.
  4. Be detailed in your description of the information to enable you to search for them when needed quickly.
  5. Review the information every 3-4 weeks to make sure you plug the gaps and update them.
  6. Ask yourself if something is useful enough to keep at the forefront of your vault; if not, move them to an archive.
  7. Keep only the most helpful and near future-bound information at the front.

The "Iceberg Method" in action

James was planning a trip to Thailand and needed his visa application number ASAP. He searched for it on his Gmail but couldn't find it.

James didn't know what text was on that email, and generic terms like "visa," "travel," or "tickets" had 1000+ results. Naturally, he felt stuck knowing that this would cost him at least a couple of hours of reviewing each mail for his visa number.

He soon realized that he needed a way to save and process this information and for it to be available when he needed it the most. So he looked at a few systems and finally stumbled upon the Iceberg method.

James started by gathering all the valuable information and making copies of them to store for the long term. These included things like his tax papers, licenses, bills, etc.

Once he had them, he quickly scanned them using a cam scanner app and uploaded them to a centralized system like Evernote.

He started adding tags to this information to make them more easily searchable. For example, he added tags for the year "2019" and the context "taxes" to ensure that it was easy to find when he searched for his 2019 taxes.

He did that with all his important documents. As he got comfortable storing retrospective information, he slowly started recording ideas, resources, and thoughts in a notebook throughout the day.

Later, he would take this information from the notebook and store it under their respective tags and folder on his centralized system. This system made his information management accessible and practical, so he could retain and recall essential bits when needed.

James wondered why he didn't start using the "Iceberg Method" sooner. But he was glad that he now knows how to manage information better.

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